I have been talking about opening my own business for as long as I can remember. And when I set a goal for myself, there’s no stopping it from happening. Even if the road to get there gets windy and confusing, I always stay focused on the end result.
As a kid, I spent every single summer and winter in Montana, skiing, riding, fishing, exploring, just enjoying everything the state had to offer. When I got the chance to take a job in Missoula, MT at the age of 25, I jumped all over it. I prefer being outdoors if given a choice, and Montana towns operate at a slower pace than the “big city.” That combination makes living in Montana my ideal place, along with the fact I bought my dream home there – a log cabin on some acreage, ready for horses. I’ve owned the house for about 5 years now in Stevensville, MT, located in the BEAUTIFUL Bitterroot Valley.
So when I took the job in Montana, it was with the goal of opening my own business one day. But the job required more than 70 hours a week on a regular basis, and my salary wasn’t enough to save money. So I didn’t have enough time, or money, to take the leap and open my own business. I was good at my job, and was eventually recruited to take a position in Boulder, CO, doing the same thing I was doing previously. I was hesitant to leave MT, but the pay was literally 3x what it was in Montana. So, keeping my goal in mind, I took a leap of faith. I took the job as the Director of Catering, thinking I would work there for 4 years, save some money, and move back to my dream home in Montana, live off the savings, and open my own business.
Well, the plans went awry, like they always do! The new boss at the hotel was changing a lot of things – employees who had been there for 15+ years and were comfortable with the status quo didn’t like the new direction the hotel was taking, so they left in droves. (Whole different topic, but change can be GOOD people, especially when the hotel hadn’t been making money for the past 15 years). The mass exodus of staff alerted the ownership (from a foreign country), that they should take a look at what was happening at the hotel. So they began to take notice of what we were doing, and the first thing they did was review the bonus structure -The same bonus structure that made my paycheck awesome. It was cut completely. So my plans of saving money and moving back in 4 years were up-ended.
It was time to re-evaluate my plans of opening my own business and how I was going to still make it happen. So I took a part time marketing job with another company, and just went ahead and opened Events by Autumn in Colorado. The past year and a half has been spent creating contracts, websites, marketing materials, and getting myself fully prepared to move back to Montana and hit the ground running. And I’ve planned quite a few Colorado weddings as well in my first year, and received the kindest, most amazing positive feedback, which just reinforces that I’m on track. But when you know where your heart belongs, you just feel compelled to follow.
In August, my renters moved out of my dream house in Montana, and I now had to be realistic about paying two mortgages. So my decision was to move back to Montana, rent (or sell) the house in Colorado and get the business rolling where I really wanted it to happen in the first place. Fall is the perfect time to move back, get re-acquainted with vendors & friends, and promote the business, since most engagements happen over the winter months.
I’ve been gone from Montana for 2 and a half years, and had planned on being in Colorado for 4. I’d say that making a dream happen in about half the time is a pretty good feeling.
(A hazy day at the log cabin in Stevi. . .the Bitterroot mountains are barely visible in the background.)